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Strategic Planning Document -
Transportation R&D


This summary of Federal transportation research and development priorities has been prepared for the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) by the NSTC Committee on Transportation R&D and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The plan reflects current progress in the ongoing effort to assess Federal transportation research and to develop long-term R&D programs integrated across agencies in specific transportation-related areas of common interest. The plan was compiled from subcommittee reports which contain extensive additional detail concerning agency programs, goals, issues and resources. Efforts of the Committee in 1994 focused on identification of perceived R&D gaps and opportunities. The following objectives were developed for coordinated public and private R&D:

  • Physical Infrastructure for Transportation: Develop materials, design methods, non-destructive testing techniques, and other technologies for low- cost, long-lasting highways, bridges, airports, and other structures. Develop low-cost methods for non-destructive testing and repair of existing structures.

  • Information Infrastructure for Transportation: Apply the innovations available from the national information infrastructure to develop an Intelligent Transportation System that will ensure the safe and efficient intermodal operation of the Nation's vehicles and physical infrastructure.

  • Next-Generation Transportation Vehicles:

    Aeronautics: Maintain world leadership in aircraft, engines, avionics, and air transportation system equipment for a safe, sustainable, global aviation system.

    Space Launch: Ensure reliable and affordable access to space through a stronger US space launch capability which meets the needs of the civilian, national security, and commercial sectors.

    Personal (Light-Duty) Motor Vehicles: Renewed leadership in automotive technologies through the development of a new generation of energy efficient, low emission vehicles that will preserve American jobs and improve American competitiveness.

    Medium and Heavy Duty Motor Vehicles (Trucks and Buses): Ensure US leadership in truck and bus technology by investing in improved materials, components, and design concepts and other technologies required for improved accessibility, energy efficiency and environmental characteristics.

    Rail Vehicles (Intercity and Transit): Position the US as a world technology leader and primary exporter of rail-related equipment and services by facilitating technological innovation in rail vehicle design and construction and by introducing advanced materials, and communications and control technologies which will result in improved performance and reduced costs.

    Ships and Shipbuilding: Restore the competitiveness of the US in ship building, ship repair, ship design, and ship production in order to ensure a strong and competitive US shipbuilding industry unsurpassed in building the finest and most complex vessels in the world.

  • Transportation System Design, Planning, Management and Operations

    Transportation System Assessment Tools and Knowledge: Develop information required for government and industry managers to make effective decisions about the safe operation of existing transportation systems as well as new investments.

    Human Performance in the Transportation System: Define appropriate roles for the human-in-the-loop through human-centered automation and improve the safety and competitiveness of American products through the integration of human performance principles and procedures and the application of new information dissemination, communication, and display technologies to transportation.

These objectives provide the foundation for generation in 1995 of detailed and comprehensive description of Federal transportation R&D goals, plans, measures, budgets, and priorities, including active coordination with relevant other NSTC Committees.

The purpose of this report is to highlight ongoing Federal research efforts in this science and technology (S&T) field and to identify new and promising areas where there might be gaps in Federal support. The report is intended for internal planning purposes within the Federal agencies and as a mechanism to convey to the S&T community the types of research and research priorities being sponsored and considered by the Federal agencies. The Administration is committed to a broad range of high priority investments (including science and technology), as well as to deficit reduction, and to a smaller, more efficient Federal government. These commitments have created a very challenging budget environment--requiring difficult decisions and a well thought-out strategy to ensure the best return for the nation's taxpayer. As part of this strategy, this document does not represent the final determinant in an overall Administration budget decision making process. The research programs presented in this report will have to compete for resources against many other high priority federal programs. If these programs compete successfully, they will be reflected in future Administration budgets.

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Transportation R&D - Table of Contents


Executive Summary

I. Overview

II. Summary

II. Summary - continued

II. Summary - continued

III. Conclusion


Strategic Planning Document - Transportation R&D

Department of Transportation